Lattice Blog


60 GHz: Taking the VR Experience to the Next Level

60 GHz Taking the VR Experience
Posted 03/02/2016 by Peiju Chiang

Posted in

Imagine. You open your eyes and before you lies a broad, rocky valley on Mars. You are moving, unencumbered by a space suit, looking around, exploring this alien landscape. Or maybe you are on a quest, traveling through a dark forest with a team of trusty companions. You look up and you see the sunlight through the branches. You look to your left and see the glint of…wait is that a sword?

This is the promise of Virtual Reality – the ability to transport you to distant places or worlds that never even existed. Beyond the fantastical, VR also has a number of potential practical uses: from helping users visualize products before they are built, to enhancing the communication experience by dropping you into a virtual “meeting space” where you can walk around and interact with people around the world as if you were in the same room. While we are not in this future yet, over the last few years we have moved dramatically closer to this reality, with rapid advancement in both overcoming the technological hurdles required to make VR a reality and in the attention and investment that this space has gotten.

Virtual reality essentially works by providing stimulus to two of our five senses, sight and hearing (taste-o-vision is not on the menu, yet!). By tightly controlling what each eye and ear experiences, the creators of VR are able to fool your mind into thinking that you were somewhere else. In order for this to work well, the content has to be very high quality, and each element has to be tightly synchronized with the others. The Oculus head-mount displays are currently projecting video at a resolution of 1080x1200 @ 90Hz to each eye. Since you are delivering separate images to each eye, but telling them it is the same image (to fool the brain into believing it is seeing in 3D), the video streams have to be delivered very fast and with very low latency. Practically speaking, this means most VR headsets have opted for the HDMI solution, a well-known uncompressed video technology to connect the VR headset to the source generating the picture.

But remember that any time your mind experiences a dissonance, where your body’s expectations based on what it’s hearing and seeing is at odds with the signals one of your other senses is sending, your body can rebel against the experience. Because HDMI connects via a relatively thick 19-wire cable, whenever you move your body you could experience rubbing of the cable against your body altering your mind that what you are hearing and seeing is not real. It’s important to remove these sorts of dissonance causing distractions in order to create the most realistic VR experience.

Here’s where wireless video can help. 60 GHz wireless video in particular has some helpful characteristics, including very low latency, high bandwidth, and robust beam steering that would allow the device makers to cut the wires without sacrificing visual quality. All of these characteristics paired with a tightly synchronized, high quality, robust connection ensure that VR gear users no longer have to worry about the “reality check” caused by a the sensation of a wire

As VR continues to steal the headlines, like at this year’s MWC, we are excited to see what changes and improvements the makers are planning on implementing to offer a more authentic experience to their users. VR is here to stay. Now let’s make it even more “real”.